Coronavirus update: North Carolina – Friday, May 8

We’re keeping track of the most up-to-date news about the coronavirus in North Carolina. Check back for updates.

REPORTED CASES AND DEATHS

At least 13,541 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus, and 513 have died, according to state and county health departments.

On Thursday, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 639 new cases of the virus as more tests are administered. That’s the highest daily case total in the state and a jump from 502 the day before.

At least 525 North Carolinians were hospitalized with the virus on Thursday, up from 516 reported the day before. The rolling seven-day average of daily hospitalizations in the state was 514 as of Thursday.

STATE STARTS TO REOPEN

The first phase of Gov. Roy Cooper’s three-part plan to reopen North Carolina begins at 5 p.m. Friday.

Under Phase 1, the stay-at-home order will be modified to allow more businesses to reopen and people to take some nonessential trips. Residents must adhere to social distancing guidelines, and anyone who can work from home is encouraged to continue doing so.

Mecklenburg Health Director Gibbie Harris warned it will not be “business as usual.”

“This should not be seen as an opportunity to go back to business as usual — to hang out at the mall, to walk around, to stroll, and to shop,” Harris said Thursday afternoon during a news conference.

N.C. Governor Roy Cooper announces that the state will move into the first phase of the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions and orders starting Friday, May 8 at 5pm. 

GOP CONVENTION HEALTH EXPERT

Republican National Convention officials on Thursday said they hired a senior adviser for health and safety planning. Dr. Jeffrey Runge, a health expert with previous experience at Carolinas Medical Center and the Department of Homeland Security, will take on the role, The Charlotte Observer reported.

About 50,000 people are expected to come to Charlotte for the convention, which kicks off Aug. 24. Mecklenburg County, home to Charlotte, has reported the most coronavirus cases in the state.

WHITEWATER CENTER REOPENING

The U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte is reopening with limited activities on Saturday.

Mountain biking, flat water kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and whitewater kayaking will be available, and trails will be open.

“All locations and activities will have very limited capacities and guests must adhere to social distancing requirements at all times,” the center says.

The U.S National Whitewater Center sees more than a million visitors each year ranging from young children to Olympic athletes. Visitors can partake in 30-plus outdoor activities including white water rafting, rock climbing and zip lining. 

NURSING HOME CASES

There are at least 83 coronavirus outbreaks at nursing homes and residential care facilities in North Carolina, and 250 people have died.

Here’s how areas of the Triangle have been affected, including Wake, Durham, Johnston, Orange, Franklin, Harnett, Chatham and Alamance counties.

North Carolina DHHS reports the number of COVID-19 coronavirus cases in nursing homes and congregate living centers in the state. Here are updates for centers in Wake, Durham, Johnston, Orange, Franklin, Harnett, Chatham and Alamance counties. 

BELK DETAILS REOPENING PLAN

Charlotte-based Belk will open more of its department stores in North Carolina as the state starts to roll back restrictions.

All 291 of its stores in 16 states were closed in March because of the coronavirus. The 64 North Carolina stores will open again on Monday, the Charlotte Observer reported.

NURSE FEATURED IN PBS DOCUMENTARY ON COVID-19

Allison Adams, a North Carolina native and Raleigh-based critical care transport nurse, sent her son to live with her parents in March when the pandemic hit. Her husband is a paramedic, and the pair felt he’d be safer with them.

Adams is one of three people featured in a new PBS “American Portrait” special called “In This Together,” which airs at 9 p.m. Friday.

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